Microsoft has signed five separate agreements with five social-networking leaders via which each will allow its users to share contact data with Microsoft in a more secure way.
In a blog post on March 25 to the Microsoft Windows Live Developer site, John Richards, Director of the Windows Live Platform explained the new agreements. Microsoft has signed contact-sharing agreements with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn. Contact sharing between Windows Live and Facebook and Windows Live and Bebo kicks in today; the other three will take effect in the coming months.
While Richards described the new alliances as being about data portability, the new deals have nothing to do with Microsoft's participation in the Dataportability.Org group. They also don't have a whole lot to do with data portability beyond contact sharing. The Microsoft Research C2 technology, which sounds like it will be part of a future release of the Windows Live for Mobile client, is more focused on sharing data beyond just names and e-mail addresses; C2 also allows for sharing of photos and other social-networking data.
As part of Microsoft's new contact-sharing arrangements, Microsoft has created a new service, www.invite2messenger.net, to allow Windows Live users to invite their friends using other social-networking sites to join their Windows Live Messenger contact list.